Bill Weinberg's blog

Flogged for cannabis in Saudi Arabia

Posted on January 2nd, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

Middle EastSaudi Arabia, already under scrutiny for its draconian punishments for drug offenses and other victimless crimes, just registered yet another medieval barbarism. Bahrain's Gulf Digital News reported Dec. 27 that a man convicted of possession of 59 kilograms of cannabis (about 130 pounds) was sentenced to 10 years in prison—and 1,200 lashes. The Criminal Court in Mecca also fined the presumed trafficker 100,000 riyals (about $25,000) and banned him from travelling abroad for 10 years on serving his term. He was arrested by a police patrol after a search of his vehicle found the stash hidden inside the spare wheel.

Bolivia: mass prisoner pardon to relieve overcrowding

Posted on December 27th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .
BoliviaBolivian President Evo Morales on Christmas Eve pardoned 1,800 prisoners held in facilities across the country—part of his ongoing effort to curtail overcrowding in the Andean nation's penal system. "The present decree's aim is to give amnesty and total or partial pardons to people who have been deprived of their liberty," Morales told a news conference in the central region of Cochabamba.

Philippines: Duterte makes good on threat to kill journalists?

Posted on December 23rd, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

South East AsiaThe Philippines' ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte has openly threatened to kill human rights activists and journalists who report on his draconian anti-drug crackdown. Now it looks like he may be starting to follow through. Press freedom groups in the Philippines are protesting what they say is the first murder of a journalist in the country since Duterte took office in June. On Dec. 19, Larry Que, publisher and chief correspondent for Catadunanes News Now, a local newspaper in Luzon region (apparently with no website), was shot in the head as he was entering his office, in Virac township. The assailants escaped. Que died from his injuries the next morning.

Philippines: Duterte boasts of personally killing drug suspects

Posted on December 14th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

South East AsiaThe Philippines' ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte—facing international outrage for his bloody anti-drug crackdown—boasted to a group of business leaders he hosted at the presidential palace in Manila Dec. 12 that he "personally" killed drug suspects when he was mayor of Davao City. Bizarrely, this boast came as he argued that the thousands of victims of his drug war have been killed in legitimate police operations. The quote (apparently cleaned up from his choppy verbatim) is reported in the Philippines Inquirer: "I know because...I used to do it personally. Just to show to the [police officers] that if I can do it, why can't you? ...I go around in Davao [on] a big bike and I would just patrol the streets and looking for trouble. [Sic] I was really looking for an encounter to kill."

Cannabis at issue in latest police shooting —yet again

Posted on December 10th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

BlackLivesMatterAs so many times before, cannabis again plays a key role in the latest police shooting of an African American citizen to spark outrage across the country. The prosecutor for Iowa's Linn County on Dec. 8 announced that a white police officer will not be charged in the shooting that left an unarmed Black motorist paralyzed and sparked protests in Cedar Rapids, the county seat.

Trump appoints drug war general to lead Homeland Security

Posted on December 8th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

Shadow WatchPresident-elect Donald Trump is reported to have named the former chief of the Pentagon's Southern Command, Gen. John Kelly, as his choice for secretary of Homeland Security. As SouthCom chief, Kelly oversaw counter-narcotics operations throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean from late 2012 until his retirement in January 2016. He was a notorious hardliner, which resulted in policy clashes with President Obama, the Washington Post tells us. As Homeland Security chief, he will oversee the 20,000-strong Border Patrol, with responsibility for drug interceptions along the 2,000-mile frontier with Mexico. 

Philippines: Duterte says Trump approves bloody drug war

Posted on December 5th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

South East AsiaThe Philippines' ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte on Dec. 3 said that US president-elect Donald Trump has endorsed his bloody anti-drug crackdown—which has claimed an estimated 3,000 lives since he took office in June. A statement release by Duterte's office, the president said: "He understood the way we are handling it and I said that there's nothing wrong in protecting a country." He called the conversation "very encouraging, in the sense that I supposed that what he really wanted to say was that we would be the last to interfere in the affairs of your own country... He wishes me well...in my campaign, and said that...we are doing it as a sovereign nation, the right way." The statement added that Trump was "quite sensitive...to our worry about drugs."

Philippines: Duterte threatens to kill human rights activists

Posted on December 2nd, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

South East AsiaAlready accused of carrying out 3,000 extrajudicial executions in his anti-drug crackdown since taking office in June, the Philippines' ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte has now threatened to kill human rights activists who have the temerity to complain about it. In a speech at Manila's Malacañang Palace on Nov. 28, Duterte said those who accuse him of ordering the summary execution of drug users and low-level dealers should be blamed if the country's drug problem worsened—and suffer the same fate. Here's the quote, translated from Filipino: “The human rights [activists] said I ordered the killings. I told them 'OK. Let's stop. We'll let them [drug users] multiply so that when it's harvest time, more people will die. I will include you because you are the reason why their numbers swell."

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